Bomb threat remains unsolved

Jacquelyn Moreno

On Thursday, Dec. 19 during the final week of the Fall 2019 semester, the university activated a campus closure, informing all students and faculty to stay off the main campus. The University Police Department’s online crime log would later list that a, “ false bomb threat reported to police” had occurred at 12:35 p.m.

Just after 2 p.m.,  UPD began sending out calls, texts and emails disclosing that they had received an unconfirmed bomb threat for “a few buildings” on campus.

“University Police is working with SFPD to investigate the matter,” UPD said in the email. “No one will be permitted to remain on campus.”

At 3:04 p.m. UPD confirmed evacuations from Humanities, Library, Thornton Hall, Burk Hall, Business, HSS, Centennial Village, Fine Arts, SHC, Hensill Hall, Creative Arts, Science, Student Union, Ethics Studies and Psychology, and Gym buildings. The final update from UPD was an email sent at 6:26 p.m. saying that the campus would reopen on Friday morning for regular operations. 

“Law enforcement has concluded their search of the impacted campus buildings and the investigation determined that there was no threat to public safety,” UPD said. 

Professor Lourdes Cardenas was in the Humanities building during this time and preparing to meet her class for final presentations. 

“Sometimes we are kind of skeptical of these alarms,” Cardenas said. “We knew there was a bomb threat but no one was in panic.” 

The case was suspended on Dec. 20, according to UPD Deputy Chief Wailun Shiu. Shiu declined to comment on why the case was suspended. Maria Calderon was finishing the last few questions on her Special Education 630 exam in the library moments before other students started receiving the call from campus. 

Calderon had to close her laptop and leave campus once the emergency alarms went off. She immediately emailed her professor from her friend’s dorm to figure out what to do about her remaining final.

“I just asked her, ‘ I was in the library on campus doing the final is there anyway I can get an extension?,” Calderon said.

Calderon was given the opportunity to finish her final online later that night once she got off work. 

Students on campus were alarmed by the emergency response and evacuated. Finals that were not yet taken were postponed until further notice.

A student wanted to keep his identity confidential when commenting about his experience with the bomb threat on campus during his final. The student was taking a math course and walking towards Thornton Hall when the alarm went off. As he waited with other students outside of the building he eventually had to evacuate with no completion of his final exam. 

“I spent my vacation studying cause you forget things. You want to prepare for new classes and a new semester,” the source said.

This has caused an extra workload and suspense for students who have not received a final postponed date resulting in an undetermined final grade. 

Jared Sena had gotten the alerts on his phone leaving the Creative Arts building right after his BECA production and knew this was a serious matter. 

“I just remember getting all these text messages and calls saying ‘bomb threat’ as soon as I was leaving the school,” Sena said. “One of my friends was happy it happened because he didn’t have to go through a final as bad as that sounds.” 

The office of Beth Helwig, the vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, did not reply to a request for comment.